FIFA World Cup 2018: What you need to know ahead of Argentina vs Croatia game on Thursday
1. Argentina has faced the most number of penalty shootouts in the history of the tournament, they have been successful four out of the five times in such situation. Interestingly their only loss has come against Germany in 2006 who have been invincible in penalty shootouts as they have a cent percent record winning all four times.
2. 1998 was Croatia’s first appearance as an independent nation and got a podium finish for themselves, edging out Netherlands in the place playoff by 2-1. The best victory came against the Germans as they thumped 3 goals to none in the quarters. Davor Suker, the golden boot winner of the tournament sealed the glorious victory with the third goal, overall the then-Real Madrid striker scored six goals from seven matches.
3. Interestingly, Argentine-born, Luis Monti has played two World Cup final matches but with two different teams. He was a key player when Argentina cruised into the finals in 1930 and played an instrumental role in Italy’s dominant performance in 1934 when the Azzurri's lifted the trophy.
4. Argentina’s Canniga who was a star for the team in the 1990s was left out of squad in 1998 by coach Daniel Passarella as the maverick forward refused to cut his hair. In 2002 he got a call for the national squad when Marcelo Biesela was in charge. He wasn’t given a chance to play in the whole tournament but was shown a red card for cursing the referee from the bench, the first of its kind.
5. Argentina’s Leandro Cufré is the only player who has been sent off after the final whistle has been blown. He attacked Germany’s Per Mertesacker after the South American giants lost 4-2 on penalties in the quarters. Interestingly Argentina has been guilty of being the side that been cautioned the most in the history of World Cup, 88 in 65 games. Their players have been sent off on 10 occasions and they are second on that list.
6. In 1990, Argentina scored only five goals in the whole tournament, the least by any team to reach the finals.
7. When Argentina reached the finals in 1930 Juan Jose Tramutola became the youngest manager at the age of 27 years and 267 days to achieve the feat, the record still stands tall.
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